HrcAk47 wrote: American domestic politics allowed Yugoslavia to be offered to partake in F-20 program, with significant bonuses to sweeten the deal, including TOW missiles (story for another day, we were a cover for the final customer)
It's another day! Tell us, uncle Hrc, tell us
As any good theory crafter can tell you, it is always important to have a "plan B", and so, this was supposed to be Yugoslav top tier ASF in ALB... if it had gone on Blufor.
At any rate. Late 70s and 80s were an interesting time in America, since the major re-armament programs began in order to close the capability gap they had vs. the USSR. These golden ages of the US industry gave birth to many now famous vehicles, such as Abrams, Humvee, Blackhawk, Apache, Bradley (this one had teething pains), and of course, probably the most successful - the Teen Series.
After the deals with the dinosaur-tea-producing sand people, the economy boomed on again-cheap gas, so everybody and their grandma decided to create the "next big fighter", in the most American way possible - which is through private venture.
End result was an absurd amount of excellent new planes, and the US armed forces could take only so many of the different designs. Therefore, the military-industrial-complex used influence to grab as many export permits.
Now, the US relationships with Yugoslavia were awesome. Good trade, good diplomacy - no complaints on either side.
Northrop tried to sell the "younger brother", F-5B and E Tiger in 1971 to Yugoslavia, in a really sweet deal which allowed even the license manufacture, not just for Yugoslav needs, but even to become the main manufacturing base for exports to other European countries. Pretty symbolic as well, since the chief constructor of the F-5 (A) was Veljko Gasic, a Yugoslav himself.
Yugoslav pilots were extremely satisfied with the F-5E, as we had a thing for huge engines with wings attached kind of small planes, and gave out very positive opinions.
The deal fell through, since when the Soviets heard about it, they offered a huge amount of then-state-of-the-art MiG-21M and MF... at the retardedly low dumping price, and it turned out to be a too sweet of a deal.
Back into the eighties, Northrop, still being hopeful, offers Yugoslavia the F-20. This time, they smoothened the deal by even getting the export permit for Mavericks to be offered, and even better deals regarding license production, but by then, Yugoslavia was starting the Novi Avion program.
Yugoslavia was looking for a foreign partner for NA program, and Northrop was counteroffered partnership... But they declined, having high hopes for the Tigershark. Yugoslavia later partnered with Dassault, and the rest is history.
In the end, the Northrop never managed to make the F-20 shine like teen series. But that can be attributed to the ultra-aggressive promotion of the F-16, that was given out like candy. You ain't Blufor if you don't have a F-16.
All in all, when thinking about potential Yugoslavia for ALB, the plane tree contained F-5s and F-20s rather than MiGs.